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November 5, 2014

21st Century Interdisciplinary Theme

Global Awareness

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, schools should not only focus on students’ mastery of core subjects, but also promote their understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into those subjects. One of these themes is global awareness, which involves learning from and working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue.

Here are some ideas that will help you enhance your students’ global awareness.

Education Access for All

The Global Education Conference is a collaborative, inclusive, worldwide community initiative involving students, educators and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for connecting classrooms while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity and educational access for all.

The fifth annual Global Education Conference, a free weeklong online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world, will be held Monday, November 17, through Friday, November 22, 2014 (November 23 in some time zones). The entire conference will take place online in webinar format.

Last year’s conference featured 200 general sessions and 19 keynote addresses from all over the world with more than 8,000 participant logins. To attend this year’s online conference and to be kept informed of the latest conference news and updates, join the Global Education Conference network.

Cross-Fertilization of Civilizations

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History presents the Met’s collection via a chronological, geographical and thematic exploration of global art history. Authored by the Met’s experts—predominantly made up of curators but also of conservators, scientists and educators—the Timeline of Art History comprises 300 timelines, 930 essays, close to 7,000 objects and a robust index, and is regularly updated and enriched to provide new scholarship and insights on the collection.

World Maps, and accompanying regional maps, are used to navigate to different regions of the world within a selected time period or geographical region.

Timelines provide a linear outline of art history and allow visitors to compare and contrast art from around the globe at any time in history.

Thematic Essays focus on specific themes in art history, including artistic movements and periods, archaeological sites, empires and civilizations, recurrent themes and concepts, media and artists. Each thematic essay provides links to related themes and timelines and often demonstrates the cross-fertilization of civilizations.

The Works of Art in the Metropolitan’s collection celebrate human creativity from around the world and from all eras. Each image can be enlarged for closer scrutiny and is accompanied by supporting material, including when available, links to technical glossaries and artist biographies from Oxford Art Online.

The Timeline is indexed by chronology, geography, theme and subject. Links to world regions, timelines, thematic essays, works of art and the general index provide methods for more directed research.

The World As Visualized in the Past

Visualizing Cultures (VC) was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 to explore the potential of the web for developing innovative image-driven scholarship and learning. The VC mission is to use new technology and previously inaccessible visual materials to reconstruct the past as people of the time visualized the world (or imagined it to be).

Topical units to date focus on Japan in the modern world and early-modern China. The thrust of these explorations extends beyond Asia per se, however, to address “culture” in much broader ways—cultures of modernization, war and peace, consumerism, images of “Self” and “Others,” and so on. Images of every sort are introduced and examined—in partnership with contributing institutions and collections, and with the collaboration of experts devoted to transcending the printed word and hardbound text.

The Visualizing Cultures Curriculum offers a full complement of standards-compliant lessons, providing a pathway for teachers and students to become active historians and knowledgeable readers of images.

Miniature Depictions of Cultures

Culture can be expressed through clothing, currency, music, language and more. The international doll collection on the Multicultural Education through Miniatures website highlights more than 300 handcrafted miniatures from around the world. Each figure was selected to depict the culture of the native country; most of the figures are handmade by local artisans. Students and teachers throughout the world are welcome to use the site for school reports and projects.

Several activities and games are provided on the Multicultural Education through Miniatures website to test students’ knowledge about the culture of different regions of the world. Links to other parts of the website are provided at the bottom of each activity page.

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